Have you ever been a member of a team that felt like it lacked direction and control? Or where the majority of team members were unengaged and lacked passion? Perhaps you've been on a team where the group struggles with altering direction and embracing change? These are all signs that a team is lacking hardiness. This trait is the psychological component of resiliency that involves challenge (the degree to which you embrace change and see failure as a learning opportunity), control (the belief that you can influence outcomes), and commitment (a tendency to see life as meaningful and purposeful). Hardiness is a crucial component of resiliency, and these hardy qualities are at the foundation of a cohesive and well-performing team.
Below are three tips that you can use to boost hardiness in your teams:
Debrief After Failure
Hardy teams see all situations, even failures, as a chance to learn and grow. When something doesn't go right for your team, don't ignore it or try to figure out who should be blamed. Instead, bring the team together and have an open discussion about where things went awry. Don't focus on who did what wrong, but what the team—leaders included—will do differently moving forward. Make sure there is consensus about what needs to change to avoid similar issues in the future, document what needs to change, and put this document in a spot where all team members can refer back to it.
Encourage a Healthy Dialogue Around Control
Teams that are high in hardiness have an accurate sense of what is within their control and they believe that they can influence the outcomes of situations. Be mindful of the dialogue around the idea of control in your team. Make sure your team does not fall back on rhetoric that suggests a lack of control by saying things such as "Well, it's out of our control now" or "We don't really have a choice. It's just the way it is." Challenge your team members when you hear this sort of dialogue to think about whether things are really out of your control and what you can do as a team to establish more influence over the outcomes of situations.
Be Transparent About Purpose
Teams that display hardiness have a strong sense of purpose and recognize that the work the members are doing is meaningful. Oftentimes, teams can get lost in their own activities and focus on getting through tasks without thinking about the bigger picture and how the work fits in with a larger project or the objectives of the organization. Make an effort to bring people from outside your team and have a discussion about how your team's work affects their role and day-to-day tasks. Importantly, if you're the leader of a team, ensure you find a way to remind the team about the importance of their work.